Thursday, December 30, 2004

A Blanket to Reckon With

I came home to a muffled cry coming from S's room. S is a university student who rents an extra room in my apartment, and is normally no trouble at all. His cry sounded like a distressed voice trying to talk through a mattress. I opened the door, and indeed it was as it sounded. He was laying face-down on his bed, apparently unable to move his head. Coupled with his useless effort to talk, it looked very unnatural.

"What is it?" I asked, alarmed. All I could make out was a muffled phrase of distress. So I tried my question in Thai: "Arai Na?!" Same unintelligible response.

I stooped down close to his head, and decided to pull it up from the bed--apparently something he seemed unable to do by himself. To my surprise, the whole bedspread came up with his head. Did he try to swallow the bedspread? A strange suicide attempt? Did his face get smeared with super-glue, then he fell asleep on the bed?

His face turned from distress to impatient irritation. "Get this brlllllghghghkt off my brdhglsdfcs!"

"What?" I yelled in his ear.

"Get this brlllgghghhkt off my braydghffflces!!!".

I started pulling on the blanket, but in pain he stumbled after it, with his face firmly attached to the bedspread. OK be gentle. The guy is in obvious pain and distress.

I finally wedged a couple fingers between his face and the blanket, enough to look in more closely. Yes, the blanket was somehow attached at his mouth. A slight twist, and the light revealed the source of the blanket's imprisonment: S's new braces. Something the dentist never warned him about ("stay clear of chewing gum, corn on the cob, and those clinging blankets!").



I thought we'd never untwine some of the loose threads of the blanket from his braces. Many minutes of untwining, punctuated with muffled "Oy!'s" made slow progress of separating the prey from captor (and which was which?).

When we finally freed up his sore and tired mouth, the story spilled out. While laying on his tummy on the bed, he had momentarily put his face down to the blanket and yawned. That's all it took. Baited and hooked. That's about the time I came home.

Then the funny side of it hit. We both laughed until the tears came. We imagined what it'd be like taking him to the dentist with a full bedspread attached to his face. First there'd be the nighttime 9-kilometer motorcycle trip with the blanket wildly flying around his head in the wind. It'd look like a ghost or banshee flying down the highway, and the Thai are terrified of both. Then the long wait in the waiting room and the quizzical stares from the 50 other waiting patients. What's this? The grown-up Thai version of Linus with his blanky? Then tucking him into the dentist's chair, blanket and all. I'm sure it would have made dental history, for at least that office.


The offending blanket,
in its more benign days.


I told him that if he insisted on catching blankets with his braces, he'd have to eventually get some kind of hunting or fishing license--and that he'd have to gut it and clean it all by himself. No more help from me!

2004 is almost gone. But among many more important and profound events of the year, we'll always smile about "The Day of the Blanket Attack". In light of the things that others are going through, may all our new problems be so small and solvable in 2005. Yours, too.

Happy New Year

3 comments:

trangam said...

This was so funny! Of course, with everything working out fine.

JD said...

It's nice to know some readers are going back to check some of the older content. As to this incident, we have a saying in the West: "All's well that ends well!"

SiamPhile said...

Well, Trangam is not alone.